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Holy Crêpe!! Where Have You Been My Whole Life?

Holy Crêpe!! Where Have You Been My Whole Life?


A French crêpe maker grows his dream at a busy intersection.

At the corner of Arapahoe Avenue and Broadway Street in Boulder, I find a husband-and-wife team cooking up authentic French crêpes. And Holy Crêpe! is it good!

Holy Crepe exterior. Photo by Chris Curtis.

It’s a quaint little spot and a bit of an oasis at this busy intersection. In an effort to create a French countryside vibe, a painted bicycle, vines, flowers, and even a donkey decorate the outside of the building. Inside, fresh flowers sit in small vases on the tables, welcoming visitors and inviting them to sit for a bit.

In 2017, Chef Eric Albuisson and his wife Lisa brought Eric’s grandmother’s crêpe recipe to Boulder. Starting out as a food trailer, which still sits in the parking lot, they finally found themselves in a brick and mortar and have managed the adjustment well. Located within walking distance of Boulder High School, the CU Boulder campus, and Pearl Street makes for an array of customers who move in and out of the restaurant as I settle in for my sampling of pretty much everything on the menu.

Noticing the gluten-free option, I ask Chef Eric about the process. Having taken five years to conceptualize and perfect, he feels very good about what he’s created. Lisa agrees. “I tasted all of them, and when I had this one, I told him, this is it!” Eric offers to make me one but not tell me which one it is. It’ll be my job to see if I can figure it out and will occur during the sweet sampling. Challenge accepted.

Holy Crepe sweet crepe. Photo by Chris Curtis

Thus, it begins. I start off with a salmon, cream cheese, lemon, and chive crêpe aptly dubbed the Norwegian. Covering the plate with the sides folded in to create a square shape, I can just imagine how big the original crêpe must have been. I also enjoy the Ratatouille with goat cheese, the Parisian with melted Brie, Black Forest ham, and Dijon, and the Normandy with mushrooms, asparagus, sherry cream, and Swiss.

Cut to two college-age young women. After waiting a short time for their crêpes to come out, Eric rounds the corner with one savory and one sweet. Upon setting the sweet crêpe on the table, loaded with Chantilly cream and fresh berries, one of the young women actually claps with excitement and anticipation. That, I muse, is how food should make us feel.

Back at my table, the crêpes continue to flow. A crowd favorite, the Chicken Alfredo, surprises me. I usually find Alfredo sauce to be too rich, and I’m done after one or two bites. Not in this case. “I make it from scratch using a 20-year-old parmesan,” Eric tells me. I actually have difficulty not eating more, but with the arrival of Colorado, I’m instantly distracted. Roasted pepper, pork green chile, and cheddar make up this homage to our state. The green chili blows me away, and I find the idea of a French crêpe maker creating an incredible green chili almost too much to bear. “That’s the one thing I don’t make in house,” Eric confesses. “I leave it to the experts because I want to serve the best product possible.” Who can argue with that?

Holy Crepe savory crepe. Photo by Chris Curtis

Cut to a family of four: Avid at-home crêpe makers, the father dialogues with Eric a bit about crêpe making and how he and his family have been trying to recreate the crêpes they experienced on a family vacation to France. Eric discusses the importance of ratios and the fact that he has cooking implements from France. When the family finishes their crêpes and gets ready to leave, I ask the father how the crêpes were in comparison to France. “I’m back in France right now,” he smiles.

The sweet round begins at my table. Lemon Berry, which earned the applause earlier, combines squeezed lemon, strawberries, and Chantilly. That’s followed by Caramel Apple, with apple compote, caramel drizzle, and Chantilly; Classic, with cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter; and Very Berry, with a fresh berry medley, Chantilly, and a choice of sauce. I find I’m fully prepared for the crêpe nap I will be needing when I go.

As I leave with my mound of partially eaten crêpes in hand, it comes time to guess the gluten-free sweet crêpe. “The apple?” I propose. Surprisingly, I’m right. That, however, does not indicate any sort of refined palette or ability to parse out gluten-free through taste and texture on my part —it’s pure luck and logic. Truly, I had no idea. I commend Eric once again on his ability to include as many dietary preferences as possible in his menu as vegetarian crêpes proliferate the menu. I then ask about vegan options. “I have to make a roux…it’s butter and flour,” Chef Eric explains. “Without butter,” I can almost see him shudder and his French accent gets a touch thicker, “it’s just not…French.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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